Guide to Black Bear Hunting in Maryland

Bear Hunters' Guide to Hunting Black Bears in Maryland 2014

Explanation of the Preference Point System

In 2007, DNR implemented a Preference Point System for bear hunting permit applicants. Each year that a hunter applies for a bear hunting permit he/she will receive one preference point if they are not selected for a bear hunting permit. The preference points will provide additional entries in future lotteries. Applicants will get one additional entry in the lottery for each year they are a concurrent applicant. The Preference Point System has been functioning as it was designed. Preference points have improved applicants’ chances of getting drawn in the lottery. In 2013, 89% of the successful applicants drawn in the lottery had at least one preference point.

  • Applicants must apply each year to retain preference points. If an applicant skips a year, all preference points will be forfeited.
  • Once an applicant is selected to receive a bear hunting permit, all preference points will be forfeited.
  • If an applicant is selected in the lottery, but forfeits the permit, all preference points will be forfeited.
  • Applicants will not forfeit preference points by participating in the hunt as a Subpermittee or Landowner Subpermittee.
  • Applicants have the opportunity to purchase a preference point only. This will allow those hunters who cannot hunt in 2014 the opportunity to retain their preference points for use in future drawings without risk of losing them.
  • Recent Lottery Changes

    In 2012, residents of the hunt area (Garrett and Allegany counties) received preference in the lottery drawing. The first 25% of applications drawn were awarded to residents of the hunt area. The remaining 75% of applications selected were drawn from the remaining pool of all eligible applicants. This change was implemented in response to continuous requests from the public since bear hunting has returned to western Maryland in 2004. This change was put in place to help residents experiencing nuisance bear problems address those issues directly through applied hunting pressure. This system will be applied again in 2014.